Toronto at Houston

W: W. Rodriguez (2-2) L: T. Lilly (3-7)
S: B. Lidge (16)
HR: TOR - None   HOU - W. Taveras (3), J. Lane (7), M. Ensberg (13)

Astros 4, Blue Jays 2

CBS wire reports

HOUSTON -- Wandy Rodriguez made good use of his escape skills.

Aided by home runs from Willy Taveras, Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane, Rodriguez pitched out of several jams over six-plus shaky innings, and the Houston Astros beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 Friday night in the first game between the franchises.

The Astros made good use of their nine hits and won for the ninth time in 14 games since ending a seven-game losing streak on May 25.

Rodriguez (2-2) gave up nine earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in his last start. He was better on Friday, allowing four hits, although he walked six. He had three strikeouts.

"We don't preach six walks," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "He did a good job of mixing up his pitches. Each time you go out you learn if your fastball is missing, you use another pitch to get them out. He did that."

Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for his 16th save.

Rodriguez escaped the second inning by giving up one run after he hit Shea Hillenbrand with a pitch and walked Aaron Hill to start the inning. After a double play, Gregg Zaun's single scored Hillenbrand for a 1-1 tie.

"He was effectively wild and then he'd settle down with men on base and get us out," Toronto's Reed Johnson said.

Vernon Wells reached on an infield hit to start Toronto's fourth but good defense saved Rodriguez. Ensberg started a double play on a grounder by Hillenbrand and then second baseman Craig Biggio dived to his left and threw out Frank Menechino to end the inning.

Rodriguez got himself out of trouble in the fifth after walking the first two batters. He struck out Ted Lilly and Johnson and Alexis Rios flied out. With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, Rodriguez got John McDonald for the third out on a grounder to first base.

"I used my change more tonight and located better," Rodriguez said. "The manager asked me to focus on location and that's what I worked on. In the sixth, I had the bases loaded and I got a change over the plate and a grounder to first to get out of the inning."

Lilly (3-7), who has lost five of his last seven starts, was behind quickly in the first inning. Taveras hit the first leadoff homer of his career on the game's fifth pitch.

Taveras missing the last three games after straining his left hamstring last Sunday.

Lilly went six innings, allowing seven hits and four earned runs.

"I definitely made more than three mistakes," Lilly said. "When you make mistakes it will eventually catch up to you. You can only get away with that for a while. The last three games I've started we've lost. I want to be a guy who can put up a good quality start and may be dominate every once in a while."

Rodriguez singled in the second, the first RBI hit of his career, as Houston went up 2-1. Jason Lane hit Lilly's second pitch of the fourth inning for his seventh homer.

Ensberg homered off Lilly on the second pitch of the sixth inning.

Wells' RBI single brought the Blue Jays within 4-2.

"We had opportunities with men on base but we didn't take advantage of them," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He threw a lot of off-speed stuff and was mixing it up. He used a changeup and curve to keep us in check."


Hill, a rookie third baseman, is hitting .579 (11-for-19) with runners in scoring position. ... The Blue Jays are 5-7 in Lilly's starts. ... Houston's Roger Clemens won two of his Cy Young awards while pitching for Toronto in 1997 and 1998. ... Lance Berkman of the Astros has reached base in 25 of his last 27 games. ... Biggio needs four hits to reach 2,700 for his career. ... The Astros recalled RHP Mike Burns from Triple-A Round Rock and optioned outfielder Todd Self to the Express.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

W. Taveras
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

V. Wells
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

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Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, LF-RF5000023 .289
Alex Rios, RF4000013 .279
    Pete Walker, P0000000 .000
   a- Eric Hinske, PH1000011 .264
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   d- Frank Catalanotto, PH-LF1100111 .319
a-struck out for Walker in the 9th
b-struck out for Menechino in the 8th
c-singled for McDonald in the 9th
d-walked for Lilly in the 7th
RBI - Vernon Wells (32), Gregg Zaun (26)
2-OUT RBI - Vernon Wells (10), Gregg Zaun (5)
SB - Gregg Zaun (1, 2nd base off Rodriguez/Quintero)
Team LOB - 9
Toronto Blue Jays
Ted Lilly (L,3-7) 6744113 7.26
Pete Walker 2200010 1.08
Pitches-Strikes - Ted Lilly 86-60, Pete Walker 19-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ted Lilly 8-9, Pete Walker 1-4
Batters Faced - Ted Lilly 26, Pete Walker 8
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF4121001 .280
Chris Burke, LF4010001 .205
Craig Biggio, 2B4010002 .276
Lance Berkman, 1B4020002 .252
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4111013 .285
Jason Lane, RF4111001 .237
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Adam Everett, SS3100101 .238
Humberto Quintero, C3000000 .091
    Chad Harville, P0000000 .000
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Orlando Palmeiro, RF0000000 .299
Wandy Rodriguez, P2011000 .333
    Brad Ausmus, C1000010 .226
HR - Willy Taveras (3, Lilly), Morgan Ensberg (13, Lilly), Jason Lane (7, Lilly)
RBI - Willy Taveras (10), Morgan Ensberg (33), Jason Lane (23), Wandy Rodriguez (1)
2-OUT RBI - Wandy Rodriguez (1)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Everett-Berkman, Ensberg-Biggio-Berkman
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Wandy Rodriguez (W,2-2) 6422630 8.41
Chad Harville (H,1) 1100010 5.87
Russ Springer (H,5) 1000010 6.97
Brad Lidge (S,16) 1100030 2.57
HBP - Hillenbrand (by Wandy Rodriguez)
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 106-60, Chad Harville 17-11, Russ Springer 10-7, Brad Lidge 14-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 8-5, Chad Harville 2-0, Russ Springer 2-0
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 27, Chad Harville 4, Russ Springer 3, Brad Lidge 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28607
Game Time - 2:26
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Terry Craft, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Rick Reed